Saturday, January 31, 2015

DuckTales (NES, 1989)

Now here's a game that has been critically acclaimed for decades. Not too surprised to see that it's by Capcom, since they were on fire in the late 80's/early 90's. DuckTales recently got new life in the form of an HD remake on current gen systems, but the NES version continues to be a true classique.

Right off the bat, this has a distinct Mega Man flavor with the stage select, color palette, and the general look of the graphics. The biggest similarity, though? The music. The jingle that plays when you defeat a boss is nearly identical to the jingle that plays when you beat a Mega Man boss.

Even though it's the fifth and final of the available stages, I tackle The Moon first. I suspected that the stages ascended in difficulty as they were listed, but it's hard to tell. They might all be considered even. I found the first and fifth to be the most difficult, oddly enough.

Scrooge attacks by bouncing off of enemies with a pogo stick. It takes a bit of work; instead of just jumping onto them with the A button, you're pressing A to jump, then holding Down and B to bring down the wrath of the pogo. Continuing to hold these two causes Scrooge to bounce around. It's a lot of fun once you get the hang of it, and adds a bit of a new dimension to the "stomp on foes to defeat them" mechanic.

Whoa! Looks just like an E-Tank, but there's no letter on it. I'm liking the uncanny familiarity of this game so far.

One cool aspect of the pogo stick is that it lets you bounce off of spikes. Thus, crossing a room like this isn't as impossible as it'd be in some games. It's a little bit like Mario's spin jump in Super Mario World.

Now here's some lameness. This enemy is blocking my path, and I can't jump on him with spikes in the way. The solution is to wait a while for it to slowly make its way over to the left.

There's a little bit of item-finding-to-progress in this game, but this is probably the biggest example of it. I was expecting another Simon's Quest and had some maps on-hand, but it turned out to be pretty unnecessary. This game is straightforward, for the most part.

The boss here is a giant rat. It's speedy, but it follows a pretty deliberate pattern.

Scrooge's war on other species' continues as he battles gorillas in the Amazon jungle. I figured I'd jump back to the first stage after finishing The Moon. Actually had more trouble with this stage, weirdly enough.

Whoa! It's Launchpad, and he's here to help Scrooge cross a pit. GET TO THE CHOPPA.

Late in this stage, there's a borderline-unfair section where you need to have perfect timing to avoid losing half of your life. Not really a fan of this part. Could the ceiling have been one square higher? And what business does the Amazon have being first on the stage select order?

This statue tries to extort $300,000 out of our hero. What the hell does a statue need with money? In any case, paying up is supposed to give you access to the vine, but instead I lured an enemy over from the left and pogo'd off of it to get up there. Haw! Genius!

The boss here is an easy fight with a nearly-immobile statue. Winning these boss fights gets you various treasures. Well, "treasures". The rat gave up a block of cheese.

What the? They got Huey! Those bastards got Huey!

This is the Transylvania level, home to a lot of portals and undead foes. It's interesting, but it's a pretty short level if you have a map and know where to go already.

The boss here was probably the most difficult in the game for me. This vulture requires nearly perfect timing to land hits on without being hit back.

The next area is the African Mines, but right off the bat they send you back to Transylvania to get a key. Luckily, the detour takes all of one minute.

The African Mines themselves are perhaps the least-interesting level, and culminate with a battle against... against...

...I have no idea what that thing is supposed to be. The mole king?

The last level I take on? The Himalayas. This is an interesting area because you can't bounce around via pogo without getting stuck in the snow.

See those ears? This level contains an abundance of killer attack rabbits. They lurk in the snow, waiting to spring out and attack. As they bite and thrash, you realize your folly. But it's too late.

At some point, Scrooge falls down into THE ABYSS. This fall is like five screens! Luckily, since this is a video game since duck bodies are springy and absorbent, the fall doesn't kill our hero.

Here we see Bubba, no relation to Bubba Ray Dudley.

The boss here is the Abominable Snowman. This really feels like a Robot Master fight from your typical Mega Man game. He leaps around and throws projectiles, but like the rest of this game, it isn't too bad.

Wonder if Capcom was inspired by this game when they put the Sakugarne (pogo stick) into Mega Man II for the Game Boy a couple years later.

Now that I have the five treasures... some douchebag steals them all! Is that you, Wario?

The final boss is Dracula Duck. The idea here is to bounce off of the bats he throws and use them as a springboard to bounce off of his head. This fight is a bit painful, but it isn't too bad once I realize that if you get hit you can use the invincible few seconds to land a free hit on him as well. Between that and legitimate strikes, it isn't too difficult to outlast him.

But wait! It's Scrooge's nemesis, Flintheart Glomgold. This bastardly fiend is going to get to the treasure before Scrooge does, and then HE will be the richest duck in the world.

What follows is a race. CLIMB, SCROOGE!

It isn't too tough to reach the top before the nefarious Glomgold does, and that concludes the game.

"I love GOLD" says Scrooge while leaping up and down.

So basically, this game is Wario Land all over again. Was he already the richest duck in the world or did he just become the richest duck in the world? Because it says remains, but then it says my actions in the game got him there.

I enjoy the quaintness of the "Duck Press" newspaper. I wonder if the HD remake has a tablet on this screen.

Helped nothing! Get out of my scene! YOU'RE AMATEURS!

Until this shot, I completely forgot that Scrooge McDuck is Scottish. Well, great game here. Was a lot easier than I was expecting, but definitely fun.


  1. He was definitely already the richest duck in the world at the outset. The rich get richer!

  2. Aw yeah, this is good stuff. New environments and fun mechanics. All the ducks are kawaii, too.
    What's the difference between difficulty settings?
    "But don't forget we helped you too, Uncle Scrooge!" felt like social commentary.

  3. Why do I feel like I've read this before? I could've sworn I saw you had done this before...maybe I'm just having fake deja vu and think you already had typed this up before. Or maybe I came on here earlier today and didn't remember reading this.

    In any case, through careful spending and stuff (It involves using that thing that eats up a bunch of your money and restores health, and getting 1 or 2 of those secret treasures that give you money.) If you do it right, you can end the game with 0 dollars. Scrooge cries in front of the normally full treasure chest before it cuts to the normal ending. Which is weird. Apparently he's the richest duck in the world despite having nothing.

    1. Your memory isn't wrong, I posted this about a year and three months ago. Sometimes I re-post old things that didn't get much attention or that I think are worth revisiting. Usually I edit them a bit and fix things up, too. In this case I just needed something to bridge some space until the next new post.

      That's interesting about the zero dollars thing. I just played Ducktales HD a couple weeks ago, and in that version there aren't any treasures at all unless you play the game on Hard. Weird.